How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid and Filter

A Concise Guide on How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid and Filter

Fluids such as engine oil and motor lubricants are vital in helping your vehicle achieve its peak performance. In a nutshell, they serve two basic functions – to lubricate and clean.

To change your automatic transmission fluid and filter, you’ll need several parts and tools to get the job done. It may take an hour or more. It may be a challenge for some cars with hard-to-reach areas. Do your research and plan carefully, and you can have a successful experience.

That being said, let’s find out how to change the automatic transmission fluid and filter. Read the rest of this post and learn from the insights that I will be sharing.

What You Will Need?

  • Car ramp / hydraulic jack
  • Wrench
  • Catch pan / container
  • Gasket
  • Filter
  • Automatic transmission fluid
  • Funnel

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid and Filter

Here is a quick video that will explain how to change your transmission fluid. Each car is a bit different, so having your owner’s manual will help.

If you have all the parts and tools you need, here are the steps that you will need to follow:

1. Lift the Vehicle

Lift the Vehicle

Of course, this is one thing that you do not have to do manually! If you have a car ramp in your garage, consider yourself lucky. Otherwise, a jack stand will be more than enough. By elevating the vehicle, you will be able to easily access what is underneath. You will have room to squeeze yourself in.

Especially for novices, it is important to emphasize this step because of the possible injury that it can cause. To begin with, see to it that you are parked on a flat surface.

After lifting the car, the next thing that you have to do is to turn on the engine before you start working. This will normalize the operating temperature of the fluid.

2. Locate the Transmission Pan and Drain the Fluid

Drain The Fluid

After turning off the engine, locate the transmission pan. You can find it at the bottom of the transmission. Look for the part that comes with six to eight bolts. The location may be different depending on the vehicle that you have.

Now is the time to drain the fluid out of the pan. Place a container under the transmission pan to catch the fluid. Unscrew the bolts from the pan, but keep those that are on one side. Let the open part hang and this way, the fluid will be drained out of the pan. Remove the remaining bolts once most of the liquid is already in the catch pan.

3. Replace the Filter

Replace the Filter

Once the transmission pan has been drained and removed, you can now replace the filter. The filter is the one that is responsible for trapping dirt and impurities. Over time, it can be holding too much dirt, and hence, it will no longer be able to deliver optimal performance, and hence, there is a need to have it replaced.

Remove any bolt or clip that could be holding the filter in its place. Be careful in removing the old filter as it can also have liquid. Install the new ones. Make sure that they are tight enough in their designated position.

4. Replace the Gasket

Replace the Gasket

After dealing with the filter, the next part that requires your attention is the gasket. You may not need to replace the gasket if it is still in a good condition. If it has already worn out, you should replace it immediately so that it will not lead to costlier problems in the future. Proper alignment of the gasket is important to prevent liquid from escaping.

Now is the time to re-install the pan. Use the same screws that you have earlier removed. You can tighten them by hand at first and use a screwdriver to be sure that they are secured in their position.

5. Add Transmission Fluid To The Reservoir

Add Transmission Fluid

Before you proceed with this step, make sure that you are using the right kind of transmission fluid. Consult with the manual of your vehicle to know which one you should purchase. See to it as well that you will be using the right quantity of fluid.

Use a funnel to transfer the automatic transmission fluid. Add it slowly to the reservoir to avoid creating splashes and wasting the fluid. Make sure that you do not overfill the transmission pan. Once you are done, start the car, wait for a few minutes, and you have now successfully completed this task!

Watch the short video below for a more detailed guide on how to change the automatic transmission and fluid filter:

Pro Tips

For better outcomes when changing automatic transmission fluid and filter, here are some important tips to keep in mind:

  • Be sure whether you need a transmission fluid change or transmission flush. In the case of a change, there are some parts wherein fluids may still remain. This is as against a flush wherein all fluids are removed. There are instances when the latter can be the better option since it cleans deeper.
  • If there is a remaining transmission fluid after the task, throw it properly. Seal it and store it in a safe place if you plan to use whatever remains. Also, you can check with recycling centers in your community if they accept it. The fluid can harm the environment, so you do not just throw it away.
  • To be sure how much transmission oil is needed, use a dipstick. This makes sure that the fluid is not too much or too little.
  • Be careful when draining the fluid. It can still be hot and can hurt you when it gets in contact with the skin.
  • There are some instances wherein you will have difficulty removing the bolts and nuts when taking out the transmission pan. A simple solution is to spray WD40 and leave it for about half an hour.
  • Before considering the task done, apply the footbrake. Move the transmission selector and be sure that all gears are covered. This is important for the fluid to circulate.


Now that you are done reading this guide, I hope that you already know how to change the automatic transmission fluid and filter. This is necessary to ensure the optimal performance of your car. Luckily, because the steps are quite easy and straightforward, you do not need to pay a mechanic to do the job.

Have you tried changing the automatic transmission fluid and filter? Are there other tips that you would like to share? Let us know in the comment section below.